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Planning for the Perfect Thanksgiving Meal

Every week leading up to Thanksgiving Chicago Heights Patch will share tips and ideas to help you plan for the perfect holiday.

If you haven’t been planning for Thanksgiving dinner for the past four weeks, you're already behind according to the food site Epicurious.

We, on the other hand, are a bit more more practical. With two weeks left until the big day, we think there's plenty of time to get a jump on your meal planning and prevent holiday stress. We're here to help keep you on track with some planning tips so you can pull off the perfect meal for friends and or family.

  1. Develop a concept: Thanksgiving is about the food, but it’s also about the kind of meal you hope to serve. Will it be a casual event or more formal? Don't forget to ask yourself, "How much money do I want to spend?" and"How much time to do I want to invest in the kitchen." Be practical with your answers. This is decision No. 1, Epicurious says.
  2. Create invite list: Once you’ve developed a concept for your Thanksgiving meal, it's time to create your invite list and send out invitations. This will help you determine how much food to prepare. Etiquette tip: E-vites (electronic invitations) can be tacky and impersonal. Check the Patch Directory for local places to buy stationary, such as Suzy's Hallmark Store or Poppies.
  3. Plan a menu around your concept and party size: More casual may include the Campbell’s green bean casserole, versus haricote verts or brussel sprouts. Decide how much time you wish to spend in the kitchen, what you can make yourself and what you will purchase pre-prepared. Stores like Whole Foods, Jewel and Dominick’s will sell you the entire meal. Online stores, such as Williams-Sonoma have turkeys you may order, albeit at a considerable price. Or, make it easy on yourself and stop in at a local market such as D & D Foods, Country Squire or Ultra Foods.
  4. Develop a cooking strategy: Once you've planned the menu, figured out your turkey situation, sent out the invitations and received RSVP’s, it's time to develop a cooking schedule. List every menu item and break down the prep time and cook time of each. Once you have all the times, help maximize your efficency and minimize time spent in the kitchen with a cook schedule.

Have tips of your own on how to tackle the Thanksgiving meal? Or, have a special recipe you’d like to suggest? Share them in comments.

 

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